World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Interview

A couple of Blizzard Entertainment developers recently had a chat with VG247, talking about World of Warcraft's Battle for Azeroth expansion, the recently released promotional cinematics, gnomes, and the inherent difficulty of scaling down an epic story that already featured magic space battles and planet-sized swords. A few sample paragraphs:

“Especially within the high-end cinematic pipeline, there are limitations to how many characters can be created – in fact, the siege of Lordaeron was already more characters than had ever been created for a Blizzard CGI film than ever before,” explained Gregory.

“I personally regret that gnomes did not ultimately get included in that, but we’re growing and stretching our capabilities. I have no doubt that we can reach a level where we can put more of the Alliance and Horde races in the spotlight”

Legion saw the end of some of the longest-running plot arcs in Warcraft, ending in the absolute melodramatic absurdity of a world-sized god plunging an equally humongous blade straight into the heart of Azeroth. That’s a hard high to scale back from, surely?

It’s just that question that Gregory and the team asked as Legion began wrapping up. “I’d spoken to [creative director] Alex Afrasiabi in the run-up to the Antorus finale and I said ‘dude, we are about to be in the most world-ending mind-shattering conceptually mega moment that World of Warcraft and possibly the genre has seen’. That has reached a level of conceptual hyperbole – how do we bring that back to terrestrial Azeroth?”

“That’s when our team proposed the Legion epilogues. Those were specifically created with the idea of being the breath between the two expansions. We called it the ‘return to the shire’ moment, and gave them this hint of turning in the middle – that something’s about to go wrong.”